Football West have announced former Perth Glory captain Gareth Naven as their new Youth Development Officer.
Naven went into coaching after his playing career, spending six years at the Glory and three-and-a-half years at Melbourne Victory.
In his new role, Naven will be involved in elite technical programs such as the Technical Support Program (TSP) and the Skill Acquisition Phase (SAP) for girls.
He will also help choose and coach many of the Gold Fields State Teams.
“This is a great opportunity to come back to Perth and work with the young players coming through,” Naven said.
“I am happiest when I am out there, on the training pitch. The biggest thing for me is – what are the kids good at and how can we make them great at it?
“It is about delivering quality content but also making sure the kids enjoy playing, so they want to come back to another session, another game.”
Naven added: “The focus changes for players as they get older. Between nine and 12, they are the foundation years where we get players to love playing and have fun. Then you get the 13 to 16-year-olds, where it is about game awareness and understanding. And 17 and over, it’s about finishing it off, the performance end of their development.”
Naven will be the third member to hold an AFC/FFA Pro Diploma in the Football West Development Department, alongside Head of Development Jamie Harnwell and Technical Manager Cris Ola.
“Yes, I played with Jamie at the back end of my career, for about two years,” Naven said.
“He’s also from Perth and followed a similar path to me coming through. We both understand the landscape very well.”
Harnwell is excited to reunite with Naven at Football West.
He said: “It is a fantastic coup for Football West to be able to bring someone of the calibre of Gareth Naven to the organisation as our Youth Development Officer.
“Gareth has worked at the highest level of development in this country during his time with Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory and I am looking forward to him sharing that knowledge, not only with the players through programs such as our Talent Support Program or Gold Fields Australia WA State teams, but also with club technical directors and coaches.
“This is another indication of the investment that Football West is making to raise the technical standards across the game in WA.”